Mahogany was one of the most sought after types of wood in the mid 1700s and early 1800s and is found in many quality antiques today. It was prized because of its straight wood grain and because very wide mahogany boards can be produced. Mahogany trees can grow to over 150 feet in height and over six feet in width at the base. They come from Cuba, the West Indies, Africa, Asia and a host of other countries, but the most prized wood comes from Cuba and the West Indies. It’s known around the world as an excellent wood for cabinets. Today it’s one of the most expensive options available, and only the select few people have quality mahogany cabinets in their kitchens.
The Benefits of Mahogany
There are a few key benefits to using mahogany cabinets over other more common types of wood. For some people they make the added cost of the cabinets worthwhile.
One of the main reasons mahogany is chosen for cabinets today is because of the beauty of the wood. It’s a deep red color that positively glows when polished properly. The wood also has a very straight grain pattern and grows nice and wide for good quality cabinet boards. Unlike other cabinets that need a lot of waxing and care to get to that glossy finish, mahogany does so naturally. When polished up and cared for properly it finishes to a gleaming shine that’s impossible to ignore. The lustrous wood takes on deep shades that really stand out in a kitchen when designed properly.
Mahogany is known for its durability and rot resistance which are excellent qualities for kitchen cabinets. The hardwood will stand up to regular use in your kitchen for years when maintained properly and that’s something that can’t be said for some of the cheaper alternatives like particleboard cabinets.
Mahogany cabinets have a very unique look that you can’t replicate easily. As the cabinets age they also take on a deeper and darker tone that gives them a richer look many people enjoy. That’s why mahogany antiques are so popular and sought after. There are finishes that can be added to mahogany cabinets to help them take on that darker look sooner.
Mahogany cabinets are significantly more expensive than cabinets made from more common woods like cherry, oak or pine. For someone looking to create a nice kitchen on a budget mahogany cabinets are likely out of the question.
If you want the look and function of mahogany cabinets in your home but you can’t bear with the price tag attached, there are some alternatives that you can try out instead. There are similar looking natural wood varieties, some synthetic products on the market and some very convincing veneers that will help you forget you don’t have the real thing.
Natural Wood Alternatives
While it’s difficult to find an exact alternative to mahogany when looking for a natural wood, there are several that come quite close. African mahogany, sipo, Spanish cedar and Eucalyptus grandis are all similar looking woods and many of them are regularly made into cabinets that are more affordable than the hard-to-obtain mahogany is.
Many people decide to go with a quality solid wood cabinet that has a mahogany veneer installed over top of it. This is a good mix of value and quality. The solid wood construction offers many of the durability benefits of solid mahogany and the veneer, if done properly, will look just like solid mahogany. You can essentially have the best of both worlds with this alternative as long as it’s built carefully.
Another option is the synthetic cabinet. There are cabinets constructed from laminate, particleboard and a bunch of other non-wood or partial wood materials. Many of these are strong and quite reliable, but generally not quite as durable as solid wood itself. There are some convincing synthetic cabinets with a veneer similar to mahogany, but in general the faux cabinets don’t look or last quite as well as the real thing does. The major benefit of synthetic cabinets is that they are much more affordable than solid wood cabinets are and they are readily available in most locations.
Maintaining mahogany cabinets is a simple task and doesn’t require much time or effort. Occasionally they should be dusted with a plain lint-free rag without using any dusting products. Regular stains can be wiped away with a damp rag. If the stains don’t come free right away, they can be tackled with warm water with a small amount of mild detergent mixed in. It’s important that all splatters and accidental spills are cleaned up as soon as possible. If something is left to sit for too long it can lead to long-term discoloration and other problems that take away from the appearance of the cabinets.
It’s very important to avoid using any harsh cleansers on the cabinets because those can damage the finish or cause discoloration. It’s also important to avoid waxing the cabinets because doing so will lead to built up wax and a yellow filmy color forming over time.
Homeowners looking for the best kitchen cabinets available should strongly consider mahogany as their choice of material. It’s one of the most expensive options, but the cabinets come with quite a few benefits that you won’t find on the more affordable options.
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